Tuesday, July 03, 2012
2012 NBA Draft Report Cards
These grades are based on value more than actual evaluation, since I'm not much of an evaluator. They also are relative to the round they took place in, meaning that an A in the second round is not the same as an A in the first round. Enjoy.
Sacramento Kings: A
#5 Thomas Robinson, PF, Kansas B
UFA Tony Mitchell, SF, Alabama A
UFA Alex Young, SG/SF, IUPUI B
The Kings lucked out when Robinson fell to them at 5, first, because he is a good fit next to DeMarcus Cousins, and, second, because it kept Harrison Barnes off their roster. What puts Sacramento's draft over the top, though, is the work they did after the last pick, snagging perhaps the premier UFA in Tony Mitchell and a poor man's George Hill in Alex Young. Mitchell should stick, and Young could too if the Kings can work out a trade to clear up their two-guard log jam (Tyreke Evans, I'm looking your way).
Orlando Magic: A
#19 Andrew Nicholson, PF, St. Bonaventure A
#49 Kyle O'Quinn, PF/C, Norfolk State C
UFA Maalik Wayns, PG, Villanova F
UFA Charlie Westbrook, SG, South Dakota F
If Dwight Howard does force his way out of Orlando, the Magic should have a serviceable young front court rotation waiting to step in for him. Over the final three months of last season, Nicholson was the most productive player in the country (sans Unibrow, of course), and O'Quinn is a banger who can step out and hit a three, which will come in handy if Ryan Anderson gets a ridiculous offer as a restricted free agent. The UFA's Orlando has signed are nothing more than bodies for the summer league squad.
San Antonio Spurs: A
#59 Marcus Denmon, SG, Missouri A
The Spurs had only one pick, and it was the second-to-last pick at that. Doesn't matter. They nailed it again. Denmon is a dead-eye shooter who should fit into Gregg Popovich's system like a glove.
Denver Nuggets: B
#20 Evan Fournier, SG, France A
#38 Quincy Miller, SF, Baylor D
#50 Izzet Turkyilmaz, C, Turkey F
Fournier has great length (6-7) and put up impressive stats in France for a 19-year old. If he were in the 2006 draft and not the 2012 draft, he probably would have been a top 5 pick. Miller is all potential at this point, but his ceiling is high enough to make him worth a second round flyer. Izzet Turkyilmaz has an awesome name.
Houston Rockets: B
#12 Jeremy Lamb, SG, Connecticut C
#16 Royce White, SF, Iowa State C
#18 Terrence Jones, PF, Kentucky C
A team full of average to above-average pieces adds three more in Lamb, White, and Jones. A trade has to happen for the Rockets this off-season, and it wouldn't surprise if some or all of these three never play a game in Houston.
Minnesota Timberwolves: B
Traded #18 pick to Houston for SF Chase Budinger B
#58 Robbie Hummel, SF, Purdue C
Budinger has average 0.109 WP48 for his career, which is about what the 7th pick in this draft is projected to produce by the Wages of Wins projection system. That's pretty good value at #18, and could even be underselling Budinger's production, as he's coming off a 0.133 WP48 season. Hummel could be a steal himself if he returns to his pre-injury form, but that may be wishful thinking.
Dallas Mavericks: B
#24 Jared Cunningham, SG, Oregon State (acquired from Cleveland for pick #17) D
#33 Bernard James, C, Florida State (acquired from Cleveland for pick #17) F
#34 Jae Crowder, SF, Marquette (acquired from Cleveland for pick #17) A
UFA Drew Gordon, PF, New Mexico B
After their first two selections, the Mavericks trade with the Cavs looked like a dud. Cunningham is a super-athlete who scores in an extremely inefficient manner, and James is the NBA's version of Brandon Weeden, only worse (although his reasons for getting a late start on his career--military service--are much more admirable than Weeden's). Jae Crowder, though, could be this year's Kenneth Faried (in terms of late-draft production, not necessarily play style, although Crowder should bring as much relentless energy as the Manimal), and is putting a lot of pressure on Tyler Zeller to produce big time for Cleveland (in my mind, at least). Drew Gordon is a great pickup as an UFA, as well, as he was one of the best rebounders in the college game last year.
Milwaukee Bucks: B
#14 John Henson, PF, North Carolina B
#42 Doron Lamb, SG, Kentucky C
UFA Jordan Taylor, PG, Wisconsin F
UFA Xavier Gibson, C, Florida State F
John Henson will block shots from day one, and he should be able to hit open jumpers created by Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings penetrating (if either one of them will ever be willing to pass). He also is decent on the boards, and his development should allow Drew Gooden to continue his Juwan Howard-like career path off the bench. Doron Lamb can provide serviceable minutes off the bench behind Ellis and Jennings, with better shooting than the starters but nearly none of their other attributes. Taylor seems like a publicity stunt, while I am shocked two centers from Florida State have found their ways onto NBA rosters in the same draft season.
Boston Celtics: B
#21 Jared Sullinger, PF, Ohio State B
#22 Fab Melo, C, Syracuse D
#51 Kris Joseph, SF, Syracuse F
If Sullinger's back is right, he is the steal of the draft. He is the most complete post scorer in the draft, and his rebounding should translate to the pros. He will be an absolute disaster defending the pick-and-roll even with a bionic back, but KG should help to mitigate the damage. Melo is a gifted shot-blocker, but he offers very little else. Joseph's floor game leaves a lot to be desired (4.7 rpg, 2.0 bspg (combined blocks and steals), 0.93 assist-to-turnover ratio), and he isn't a good enough shooter or defender to make up for it.
Memphis Grizzlies: C
#25 Tony Wroten, Jr., PG, Washington C
UFA Mitchell Watt, PF, Buffalo C
Wroten has drawn comparisons to Rajon Rondo, for both the right and wrong reasons. The former Huskie has tremendous athleticism, but his shooting and turnover numbers are abysmal. While he is nowhere near the passer Rondo is, Wroten does have the potential to alter the game in multiple, Rondo-like ways. Watt is a defensive hound who can knock down open threes, which always seem to be decent skills to have.
Atlanta Hawks: C
#23 John Jenkins, SG, Vanderbilt D
#43 Mike Scott, F, Virginia C
UFA Eric Griffin, PF, Campbell B
Jenkins is a smooth shooter who had no business going in the first round. How he fits into the Hawks cutting, slashing style also remains to be seen. Scott exploded as a 5th-year senior, so it will be interesting if he can continue his development or if his fantastic collegiate swan song was simply a matter of a full-grown man dominating kids. Griffin is maybe the best dunker in the draft with great shooting numbers (63.8% 2PT, 36.7% 3PT) and awesome shot-blocking (2.4 bpg).
Golden State Warriors: C
#7 Harrison Barnes, SF, North Carolina F
#30 Festus Ezeli, C, Vanderbilt D
#35 Draymond Green, SF, Michigan State B
#52 Ognjen Kuzmic, C, Spain B
UFA Rakim Sanders, SF, Fairfield C
The Barnes grade may seem harsh, but for someone who scores and does little else, Barnes isn't even that great at scoring. His rebounding is subpar, even among small forwards, and his assist numbers are nearly non-existent. Add in the fact that Barnes will probably be taking minutes from the resurgent Brandon Rush, and his selection equals a big loss for the Warriors. Ezeli is a big body who is not the defender his reputation would have you believe. In the second round, the Warriors rebounded nicely, grabbing the well-rounded Green (he is almost literally everything Barnes is not) and Kuzmic, who Ed Weiland at Hoops Analyst is very high on, is a nice overseas stash who will provide nearly elite-level shot-blocking and rebounding when he makes his way stateside.
Cleveland Cavaliers: C
#4 Dion Waiters, SG, Syracuse C
#17 Tyler Zeller, C, North Carolina (acquired from Dallas for picks #24, #33, & #34) C
UFA Kevin Jones, PF, West Virginia A
Waiters was Weiland's #2 rated player, but, to be fair, he made it clear that the difference between Waiters and Anthony Davis is greater than the difference between Waiters and Weiland's #60 player. Waiters is the next Dwyane Wade in a perfect world, the next Francisco Garcia in Cleveland. The truth is actually probably somewhere in between, but it's hard to expect the best when you're a Cleveland fan. I also am a little concerned with how a Wade-type two-guard is going to fit in with another ball-dominant backcourt-mate. I love Zeller, and the low grade is based more on the fact we passed up Sullinger at 17. A lot of people (Chad Ford, others) have been saying last year's #5 pick, Jonas Valanciunas, would be the number 2 pick this year, which I think is ridiculous. How can you criticize Zeller, the ACC Player of the Year, while at the same time fawning over a 19-year old who put up admittedly impressive stats over a three-week stretch in the under-19 tourney in Europe last summer? Give me production over potential anytime, which is also why I love the pickup of Kevin Jones as a free agent. Slowly but surely, the Cavs are adding NBA-quality players to the core of Kyrie, Tristan, and Andy.
Indiana Pacers: C
#26 Miles Plumlee, PF, Duke F
#36 Orlando Johnson, SG, UC-Santa Barbra (acquired from Sacramento for cash) C
UFA Reggie Hamilton, PG, Oakland B
I didn't even think Plumlee would be drafted, but I also failed to account for the power white players hold over the Pacers' front office. Of the three, Hamilton, an unabashed gunner, has the best chance to stick, if he's only given the opportunity.
Brooklyn Nets: C
#41 Tyshawn Taylor, PG, Kansas (acquired from Portland for cash) B
#54 Tornike Shengelia, SF, Belgium (acquired from Philadelphia for cash) F
#57 Ilkan Karaman, SF, Turkey F
UFA Ashton Gibbs, PG, Pittsburgh F
I like Taylor more than just about anybody. Yes, he commits some of the most boneheaded turnovers any player does at any level, but his non-stop attacking style on both ends can be very effective coming off an NBA bench. The rest of Brooklyn's inaugural haul in their new home is completely unknown to me outside of Gibbs, who had a disaster final season along with his Panther teammates.
Los Angeles Lakers: C
#55 Darius Johnson-Odom, SG, Marquette (acquired from Dallas for cash) C
#60 Robert Sacre, C, Gonzaga F
Johnson-Odom is worth a shot as a spark off the bench, while Sacre will probably never play in the NBA.
New York Knicks: C
#48 Kostas Papanikolaou, SF, Greece C
Papanikolaou is a killer shooter who will provide little else. If he can work on a goofy three-point celebration, he sounds like a perfect replacement for Steve Novak.
Toronto Raptors: C
#8 Terrence Ross, SF/SG, Washington C
#37 Quincy Acy, PF, Baylor D
#56 Tomislav Zubcic, PF, Croatia F
Yes, Ross was drafted too high, but that doesn't mean he won't be an effective player. He can shoot, which is more than can be said for the wings Toronto threw out most nights last year. Acy is a hustle guy who could, maybe, possibly, become the next Reggie Evans, while Zubcic is a complete enigma to me.
Portland Trailblazers: C
#6 Damian Lillard, PG, Weber State C
#11 Meyers Leonard, C, Illinois F
#40 Will Barton, SG/SF, Memphis A
Lillard is not a pure point guard by any means, but he will provide scoring from the position the Blazers haven't had since the days of Damon Stoudamire. Leonard is a physical specimen who history says will never develop the skills to match. Barton could be a mega-steal in the second round, possessing elite rebounding skills for his position as well as a potent scoring punch. Barton may even make restricted free agent Nicolas Batum expendable.
Washington Wizards: C
#3 Bradley Beal, SG, Florida B
#32 Tomas Satoransky, SG, Spain C
Beal is perhaps the best fit to the particular team that drafted him in the entire draft (save Marcus Denmon to the Spurs and Anthony Davis to anyone). While the Ray Allen comparisons are a bit strong, Beal should provide sweet shooting and a well-rounded floor game alongside John Wall's unbridled explosiveness. Satoransky is a tall 20-year old SG/PG with extremely underwhelming Euro-stats who could develop into Shaun Livingston post-knee explosion (I guess).
Charlotte Bobcats: C
#2 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF, Kentucky B
#31 Jeff Taylor, SF, Vanderbilt C
While I have been down on Kidd-Gilchrist leading up to the draft, the tales of his work ethic and leadership have won over even my cold, uncaring heart. Even if he doesn't develop a jump shot, MKG should provide enough other skills, as well as oodles of intangibles. Taylor fits the mold of other wings the Bobcats have drafted, joining Derrick Brown, Kyle Weaver, and (hopefully) Jared Dudley.
Los Angeles Clippers: C
#53 Furkan Aldemir, PF, Turkey C
Another foreign guy I have no idea about. He must be a big rebounding mauler, since his best case is Jeff Foster and his worst is Josh Boone. To be fair, Boone played in the NBA for a few years, so I have to imagine there are worse cases for Aldemir.
Philadelphia 76ers: D
#15 Maurice Harkless, SF, St. John's D
#27 Arnett Moultrie, PF, Mississippi State (acquired from Miami for pick #45 and a future 1st round pick) C
UFA Zack Rosen, PG, Pennsylvania F
Harkless has the potential to develop into any one of the three exact same players the Sixers already have on their roster, while Moultrie is a muscular big who needs to develop some inside toughness. Like Jordan Taylor in Milwaukee, Rosen seems like a publicity stunt.
Phoenix Suns: D
#13 Kendall Marshall, PG, North Carolina D
No pressure, Kendall.
Chicago Bulls: D
#29 Marquis Teague, PG, Kentucky D
Teague is super-raw whose stats point toward a terrible NBA career. He's also super young, so there is hope, but it is odd that a team needing a replacement for their injured MVP point guard would take a player nowhere near ready to play even spot minutes, let alone start.
Utah Jazz: D
#47 Kevin Murphy, SF, Tennessee Tech D
Murphy put up nice scoring numbers (20.6 ppg), but he did it as a 22-year old against Tennessee Tech's schedule. At only 194 lbs., he's undersized, and may have trouble even halving his senior point average in Utah.
Miami Heat: D
#45 Justin Hamilton, C, LSU (acquired from Philadelphia along with a future 1st round pick for pick #27) D
UFA J'Covan Brown, PG, Texas F
Hamilton is tall and not very good, which fits in with the other Heat centers. Brown was probably a highly regarded prospect coming out of high school who Rick Barnes ruined. Finding minutes behind Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole is probably not going to be easy.
Oklahoma City Thunder: F
#28 Perry Jones III, SF, Baylor F
Jones has talent, size, and amazing physical gifts, but not a modicum of motivation, drive, or desire. Maybe playing in the ultra-competitive culture in OKC will change all that, but I'm not counting on it. Jones will be an intriguing trade chip for about two years, and then everyone will realize that his vast potential will never be tapped.
Detroit Pistons: F
#9 Andre Drummond, C, Connecticut C
#39 Khris Middleton, SF, Texas A&M F
#44 Kim English, SG, Missouri F
UFA Casper Ware, PG, Long Beach State F
UFA Yancy Gates, PF/C, Cincinnati F
Based solely on production, Drummond should get an F. His physical tools are too overwhelming for even me to ignore, though, so I bumped him up to a C. If anyone can get through to him, Drummond has perhaps the highest ceiling in this draft. I'm not sure that anyone is in Detroit, though. The rest of the Pistons' draft is a bunch of roster fodder, although Yancy Gates could perhaps take Jason Maxiell's place as the former Bearcat fattie on the Detroit bench.
New Orleans Hornets: F
#1 Anthony Davis, PF/C, Kentucky A
#10 Austin Rivers, SG, Duke F
#46 Darius Miller, SF, Kentucky C
Anthony Davis is a no-doubt-about-it, superstar-in-the-making, franchise-altering, slam dunk pick. The fact that the Hornets still get an F shows just how terrible the Austin Rivers pick is. Nothing about Rivers game or physical attributes point towards success of any kind, other than perhaps putting up empty, ugly numbers on a losing team that he bogarts. Miller is a decent piece who could carve himself a niche as an 8th or 9th man.